Wednesday, January 19, 2011


"We", meaning news outlets, especially TV channels, and leaders of the world's governments.

That saying ~ No News is Good News ~ really doesn't mean anything in the USA "news" outlets. I say this because there are so many important stories that the USA news outlets don't include in their coverage. Genocide in Darfur is one of those stories.



Darfur death toll mounts amid new war fears

UNITED NATIONS — The Darfur conflict claimed more than 2,300 lives in 2010, according to new UN figures released with Western powers expressing renewed alarm over the war.

With growing numbers of abductions and attacks on UN peacekeepers, some diplomats accuse Sudan's government of stepping up its offensive in the remote western region while international attention is focused on the self-determination vote in south Sudan.

The Sudanese military has frequently refused permission for UN peacekeepers to go to areas where trouble is reported, according to UN officials.

Three Bulgarian air crew on a helicopter carrying World Food Programme supplies were abducted last week and this week troubles flared in the west Darfur town of Nertiti after the killing of a Sudanese intelligence officer.

In December, Tanzanian soldiers at Khor Abeche in southern Darfur even decided to give out their own rations because food supplies were blocked for nearly a week and thousands of extra refugees had headed for the UN base amid renewed fighting, UN officials said.

UN rules say peacekeepers should not give their own food to refugees.

More convoys have been halted around Khor Abeche this week, according to the UN mission in Darfur, UNAMID.

At least 2,321 violent deaths were reported in Darfur in 2010, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report. At least 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since the conflict erupted in 2003 when tribal fighters rose up against the Khartoum government, the UN says.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court. He is accused of ordering the campaign by government troops and their Janjaweed militia allies in Darfur.

The renewed fears over the conflict and deadlocked peace talks were highlighted at a UN Security Council meeting on Sudan on Tuesday.

Britain's ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who has taken a lead role in Security Council efforts on Darfur, said there was "deep concern" at the renewed hostilities.

Last week's abduction of the UN air crew "highlights the lack of security and its impact on humanitarian operations in Darfur," he added.

Lyall Grant called on all rebel groups to join the peace process without delay or pre-conditions.

"These are not sporadic attacks. This is a real war between Sudanese army forces and the rebel groups," said French ambassador Gerard Araud. "It is at the expense of civilians who are chased, causing deaths and tens of thousands of new displaced."

US ambassador Susan Rice called on the Sudanese government to "immediately halt aerial bombardments," adding: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms attacks on civilians."

She said reaching a ceasefire between government forces and the rebel groups "should be the immediate objective of the peace process."

The Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minnawi Faction is the only group to have signed up to a 2006 peace accord with the government. But its fighters clashed with army troops last month.

The Sudanese government withdrew its negotiating team from Qatar, where talks with some rebels have been held, in late December but insisted it was not leaving the talks.

South Africa, a new member of the UN Security Council, called for a special international Darfur conference to find a political settlement.

However, one African diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "The Khartoum government is resigned to losing southern Sudan, but it is determined to win back control of Darfur. The referendum in the south has been perfect cover for all sides to open fire again."



Jan. 18, 2011


Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United

Nations, at a Security Council Briefing on Sudan, January 18, 2011

Thank you, Mr. President. I also want to thank SRSG Menkerios and President

Mkapa for their important briefings today.

This is a historic moment. And I join President Obama in congratulating the

people and leaders of Sudan for the successful completion of voting on the

referendum on independence. The people of Southern Sudan, after decades of war

and more than two million killed, have cast their votes peacefully and expressed

their will.

The promise of self determination was made to the Southern Sudanese people in

2005. Thanks to the commitment of the people of Sudan and the support of the

international community, that promise was finally fulfilled. Let us not

underestimate what this referendum means to the people of Southern Sudan. We

have all heard reports of long lines forming overnight on January 8th, and of

people standing in line for hours to vote. We have even heard of a case in

which a river ferry broke down, and voters jumped into the presumably

crocodile-infested river and swam across to reach the polling station.

As President Obama said after the polling closed, “The past week has given the

world renewed faith in the prospect of a peaceful, prosperous future for all of

the Sudanese people – a future that the American people long to see in Sudan.”

To the men and women of UNMIS: the United States commends you for your

outstanding work.

Thanks to your tireless efforts, under daunting challenges and difficult

circumstances, the people of Sudan have been able to take a huge step forward on

the path of full implementation of the CPA, which ended a 23-year civil war. To

Special Representative Menkerios, my government congratulates you. You are

performing an incredibly difficult job with grace and wisdom. We thank you. We

also welcome the work that the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, the

Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau, the Government of Sudan, and the Government of

Southern Sudan have done to ensure that this historic referendum occurred on

time, peacefully, and reflects the will of the people.

We welcome the January 16 statement from the Secretary General’s Referenda

Monitoring Panel, in which the panel said it was satisfied that the referendum

process “allowed the people of Southern Sudan to express their will freely.” A

number of other observer missions have also already released preliminary

statements. On January 17, the Carter Center called the referendum “peaceful

and credible” and “broadly consistent with international standards.” The Arab

League stated that the process was “in line with international standards.” The

European Union Observer Mission commended a “peaceful, credible voting process,

with overwhelming turnout.”

On January 16, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the

African Union called the referendum “free, fair, and credible.” We commend the

work of the hundreds of international observers and thousands of domestic

observers. The United States continues to urge all to respect the results of

the referendum.

Of course, we must all focus on the challenging – and promising – road ahead.

We urge the parties to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible to

negotiate a rapid and sustainable resolution to the question of Abyei and other

outstanding CPA issues.

The United States fully supports the efforts of AU High-Level Implementation

Panel Chair President Thabo Mbeki to facilitate these agreements. We reiterate

that any resolution regarding the future of the Abyei area must be reached with

the consent of both parties, through a political settlement or a process that

respects the rights and needs of those communities traditionally associated with

the area.

Along with the status of Abyei, there are other outstanding issues requiring

urgent attention, such border demarcation, citizenship, wealth-sharing

agreements, natural resource management, the division of the national debt,

security arrangements, currency arrangements, and international treaties and

legal obligations, which are all equally important. We also consider peaceful,

inclusive popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan that reflect

the will of the people to be essential components of CPA implementation. We

call on the parties to bring the same spirit to these negotiations as they have

brought to the conduct of the referendum itself.

For all of the inspiring events in Sudan over the last week, the United States

laments the loss of life in the Abyei and border region and reiterates its deep

concern regarding the arrest, detention, and harassment of human rights

activists and journalists by the Government of Sudan’s security forces, which

prevented both an SPLM leader and an Umma Party leader from conducting

television interviews. In addition, four university students were arrested in

separate incidents for trying to host discussions.

We urge Council members to join us in calling on the Government of Sudan to

release those who have been imprisoned unjustly, including those jailed for

exercising such basic rights as freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and

freedom of assembly.

As President Obama has made clear, the United States wants the leaders in Sudan

to choose the path of peace and prosperity for all of the Sudanese people, and

he has extended the U.S. hand in that spirit. In order for this future to be

realized, however, Sudan, too, must work with the international community.

This includes cooperating with UNMIS and UNAMID to facilitate full freedom of

access and movement for UN peacekeepers and for humanitarian workers.

This access is especially important given the alarming reports that Sudanese

Armed Forces have burned homes and blocked civilians’ access to UNAMID in Khor

Abeche, and that the Government of Sudan violated the North/South ceasefire with

repeated aerial bombardments into the Kiir River Valley – in addition to the

all-too-frequent reports of aerial bombardment in Jebel Mara and the Government

of Sudan’s ongoing refusal to grant UNAMID patrols access to affected

populations, despite the Status of Forces Agreement.

We are deeply saddened and troubled by the news that on January 13, three

Bulgarian helicopter crew members contracted to the UN World Food Program were

kidnapped in Darfur. We convey our condolences to their families. And we urge

the Government of Sudan to do its utmost to facilitate their safe return. We

recall that 40,000 residents of Darfur were displaced from their homes in

December alone. Civilians continue to live under the threat of attack, and of

sexual and gender-based violence. It is thus in all of our interests to

continue to work to prevent genocide.

The United States again calls on the Government of Sudan to immediately halt

aerial bombardments, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms attacks on

civilians. Obtaining a ceasefire between the Government of Sudan and the armed

movements should be the immediate objective of the peace process. The political

process for a Darfur peace agreement must be reinvigorated, and all relevant

parties must come back to the negotiating table.

As we discussed during consultations on Sudan on January 6, the unity shown by

this Council has gone a long ways towards supporting the parties as they have

stayed on the path of peace. We need to continue to watch closely as the

parties continue to implement the CPA. As progress is made, we should welcome

it and offer continued encouragement. But, just as importantly, we need to be

prepared to insist upon and to support full and final implementation of the CPA

on such issues as protection of minorities and rejection of proxy militias, and

other threats to peace and security in Sudan.

Thank you, Mr. President.



Group sites dramatic increase in large-scale violence, threats to credible Darfur peace process
(Washington, D.C.) The Genocide Intervention Network/Save Darfur Coalition (GI-NET/SDC) today urged the United States government to reinvigorate its policy on Darfur. The call follows reports of renewed violence in Darfur, and comes amid concerns about the future of credible negotiations to reach a Darfur peace agreement.
"Thirty-two thousand Darfuri women, men and children were driven from their homes by violence during the last weeks of December as the world focused on the Southern referendum for independence,” stated Amir Osman, Senior Director for Policy and Government Relations for GI-NET/SDC. “The United States and international community must act to stop future violence and to ensure humanitarian access to care for these displaced people in Darfur while continuing high level engagement on North-South issues.”
GI-NET/SDC also expressed concern about news reports citing U.S. Special Envoy General Scott Gration indicating that he believes the Government of Sudan’s recently released strategy for Darfur is a ‘very good plan.’
“The Government of Sudan’s Darfur plan has serious flaws, including a call to hold Darfur peace negotiations in Sudan, and it would be a policy blunder if the United States endorses such a plan,” stated Osman. “Many of the civil society and rebel representatives who should be around the table in any negotiation would not feel safe traveling within Sudan, and that makes Sudan an impossible venue for such a critical negotiation.”
“The United States should instead support a high-level, internationally mediated negotiation for Darfur peace that would include the Government of Sudan, the major rebel group and civil society representatives, held in neutral location outside of Sudan,” Osman continued. The historic end the North-South war and signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 resulted from a similar process.

“We are heartened by the recent appointment of Ambassador Dane Smith, and we hope he will have an opportunity to increase U.S. engagement on Darfur at this critical time,” concluded Osman. “Given the broad concern Americans have demonstrated on this issue and the strong promises President Obama made as a candidate and since his inauguration, it would be a mistake to pursue a policy with the goal of anything less than meaningful peace, protection and justice for civilians in Darfur."

The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network merged on November 1, 2010 to create a more powerful voice dedicated to preventing and stopping large-scale, deliberate atrocities against civilians. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities such as Congo and Burma.

our humanity in the balance

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